How to Microwave Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala 

Trader’s Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala is the only lifesaver you will need for those days when you are feeling hungry but way too lazy to cook. I can’t tell you how many of my college nights were spent eating this tasty pre-cooked frozen meal. It’s convenient, cooks for under 5 minutes in the microwave, and saves a lot of time that would have otherwise been spent preparing meals. 

I’m sure most of you already know this but just in case you don’t, there are actually two kinds of Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala: There’s the frozen version, and the un-frozen version. If you purchase the unfrozen version then it’s best for you to consume it within two days’ time. If you choose to refrigerate it instead, then you can follow the steps below for microwaving the refrigerated/ frozen version.

If anyone is an expert on this subject, it would be me. I don’t have much time to cook so I opt for quick meals such as Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala. I thank whoever came up with the brilliant idea of creating pre-cooked meals that can be frozen and stored for later. 

In this article, I will cover all the steps that you should follow when microwaving Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala, coming from someone who spent many nights perfecting this “craft”. 

Can You Microwave Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala? 

Yes, you can definitely microwave Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala, and thankfully so. This convenient meal consists of chicken breasts in seasoned sauce with tomatoes, onions, oils, spices, salt, butter, and a side of Basmati rice. All combined to create a perfect serving of ready-to-eat Indian-style cuisine.

Even though Indian cuisine is best enjoyed freshly prepared, Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala was packaged perfectly to preserve the rich flavors that make this meal so delectable. This means that microwaving it won’t take away from the intended flavor and style that it was prepared to have. 

The divided tray which holds the food is also microwave safe so you don’t need to worry about messing up your dishes and cookware. One thing that you need to do, however, is to punch a few holes into the paper cover to allow some steam to escape, while microwaving. Alternatively, you may substitute the paper covering for a plastic wrap punched with holes.

We will get to those steps a bit later in the article.

Is Trader Joe’s Tikka Masala Fully Cooked? 

Yes, both the frozen and unfrozen Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala come pre-cooked. The sauce is perfect and the chicken breasts are quite tender. The only thing you may need to do when reheating is to add a few teaspoons of water to the basmati rice to make it softer. 

The rice is typically prepared well but sometimes it may be a bit crunchy. If that is not how you like to enjoy your rice then it’s best to add some water to it before microwaving. When doing so, ensure that an even layer of water is sprinkled on top so that all the grains can be exposed to the steam and water.  

But again, the food does come fully prepared for you to simply reheat and enjoy within a few minutes. If you like to be a little extra, you could prepare sides for your chicken tikka masala. 

How Long Do You Microwave Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala? 

So this all depends on the state of the meal. If it was stored in a freezer then you would need to heat it up a bit longer so that it can properly thaw. This takes about 3 minutes on high power. After thawing, you would need to microwave it for an additional minute or so to make sure that the heat distributes evenly throughout.

Though microwaves are very convenient for reheating food, if they are not used properly the result will be cold clumps of food in your Chicken Tikka Masala. This is why the additional minute is needed after microwaving for three minutes.

If the chicken tikka masala was in the refrigerator then 3 minutes will be just fine. If you are microwaving an unfrozen package of Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala immediately after buying then 2 ½ to 3 minutes will do well. 

How Do You Reheat Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala?

You have options here. Firstly you can microwave it, which is the quickest and most convenient method. I will provide the steps for this below.

The next popular way of reheating Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala is to use the stovetop method.

For this, you will need to remove it from the packaging (of course) and transfer the food into a saucepan for heating. You may choose to mix the sauce, meat, and rice all together in this method. I have found that when everything is mixed together, the flavors stand out even more and I am able to enjoy the chicken Tikka Masala as if I was at a fancy restaurant.

How Do You Microwave Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala?

Now let’s get to the “heat” of the matter. How do you microwave Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka masala? It’s quite simple. You can’t go wrong if you follow the steps below.

Frozen Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka masala 

Step 1: Set your microwave’s power to medium or high. This gives the fastest results and kills the bad bacteria that may have grown on the food during the storage process. 

Step 2:  Remove the container of Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala and punch a few holes into the paper film covering the plastic tray of food. The holes will allow steam to escape, preventing any explosions from happening in the microwave. 

Step 3: Place the container of food into the microwave and allow it to heat for 3 minutes.

Step 4: After 3 minutes, remove the container of food from the microwave and add a few teaspoons of water on top of the basmati rice. Stir the contents of the container to allow the heat to spread throughout.

Step 5: Cover it up once again and allow it to heat for an additional minute. Once the microwave stops, your Trader Joe’s chicken Tikka masala will be ready for consumption.

Unfrozen Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala

Step 1: Set the microwave’s power to medium or high.

Step 2: Retrieve the unfrozen Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala and make a few holes in the paper film covering the tray of food.

Step 3: Place the tray of food into the microwave and allow it to heat for 2 minutes.

Step 4: After two minutes of heating, use a suitable utensil to stir the contents of the tray. This is to allow the heat to spread evenly throughout the chicken tikka masala.

Step 5: Heat for an additional minute. When the minute ends, your food will be completely reheated.  

How to Microwave Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala: Final Thoughts

Heating Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala is easier than even making ramen or cup noodles in the microwave. All you need is a functioning microwave and a few minutes out of your day to spare. The awesome thing about it is that you don’t need to transfer the food into a microwave-safe container because it already comes in one.

This is a delicious yet simple meal that can save you a lot of time; time that you could be using to learn a new hobby, or if you’re in college, finishing up that assignment that’s due in a few hours. For $3.99, I’d say it’s a steal. 

I hope that you found this article to be helpful and that your Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala will come out perfectly when you follow the simple steps outlined above.